My first time heeding the call of a First Call Marathon. These very low key events are put on by Maniac Dr. Adrian Call. For a couple of years now he has hosted races on the paved trail along the Sammammish River in Bothel WA, about 4 times a year. The races are free, and no frills. But he does accept donations and there will be plenty of food at the finish line. Part pot luck, part provided. On course there are some large jugs with Gatorade and water but no cups or staff. I have wanted to run one of these races and today is the day to do it. I am still mapping out my course to get to marathon #100 at Tacoma next May. I need to fit in as many as I can, to get there.
Since I ran the 12 hour race just six days ago I am still recovering from that. In fact if I can finish the 26.2 miles today, I will have a new mileage record for any seven day period (84 miles). Any kind of time goal is out of the question.
Very small race, but lots of friendly Maniacs. Two things complicate the day a little. One is that there are three different races (half, full and 50K) and three different start times (7,8,9) , but apparently any runner can start at any of the times. The other change is that runners will have to go west on the trail for out and backs until after 10AM when the permit will allow us to run the eastern section. I will start at 8AM. That means that I will run west for 3.3 miles and then back to the start. Repeat that, and since it will be just after 10AM, I can then go east for 6.55 miles and return to the start/finish line. Double out and back first half, single out and back second half. This will be the most crowded paved trail that I have ever run on. So many bicyclists, walkers, joggers, and dogs. And with so few runners in our race, starting at different times, I will seldom run with anyone. After days of very hot weather it is cloudy and much cooler. Temps will peak in the lower 70s, which is warm for racing, but will not seem so bad now after some of the hot running I have done recently.
Start to Mile 3.3 - Briefing by the RD and we are off. Over the bridge and off to the right. 7AM starters coming toward us. I take it nice and easy and actually the legs do not feel very sore. I ran a total of 5 miles between Monday and Friday. If anything will trouble me today it will be my left heel/plantar and or my right ankle. Loosening/warming up now, I go just a little faster. Suddenly I have very sharp pains in a couple of spots up and down my left leg. In front and behind my knee, in the upper hamstring and maybe down in the shin too. Very surprising and worrisome. I walk and it feels fine. I run slowly and it is fine. I go faster and it comes back. Walk and it is fine, run slowly and it is better, go faster and the pain comes back. I take it really slowly and ponder if I should drop out after the first out and back. Let John Shaphorst and Andy Lin go on ahead. More surprised than anything. No idea what is wrong. I continue on and the trail becomes more urban. Two short tunnels that are good for loon calling.
Mile 3.3 to 6.55 - Return trip. Hand slap Maniac Deb. Short slow stride feels fine. Before the start area I pick up the pace a little and have no pain. Go a little faster and all seems well. Whatever the problem was, it worked itself out. It will not bother me at all any more today or after the race.
Mile 6.55 to 13.1 - Meet Maniac Stephanie who also ran the 12 hour last weekend. She is only doing the half today. From last weeks race, only Maniac Linda and I are running the full today. We will finish with about the same times in both races. This section is uneventful. The trail is fine, but crowded. I get back to the start at 2:08, about a 10 minute per mile pace. No way that this will hold.
Mile 13.1 to 26.2 - Now the longer out and back, heading east to Woodinville. This is all new for me and it is nice to run somewhere different. Except the part about not being sure of the course. A half mile into it and the trail splits and I really am unsure where to go. John catches up ( I had passed him earlier) and we decide to go over the river. Then we turn right and see a road and another road that goes more closely to the river and has faint purple chalk arrows on the ground. We follow the arrows and it takes us down and around and back up to the road where we were on. Other runners stayed on the upper road which goes straight to the continuation of the paved trail. Our route added less than a tenth of a mile, and I am still not sure which was the correct route. Now on the paved trail and it splits again. The RD had said to follow the detour signs. There is a detour sign here right in the middle of the split, with no arrow. Really unsure about this one. Maniac Mellisa joins us and we all go right, hesitantly. I don't mind a little adventure, but I really do not need any extra miles today. So it is with great relief that after a mile more I see the aid station jugs. Running and walking alone now. Feet tiring. Getting warmer. Nice flat trail but crowded. I resort to music, for the first time during a race in many years. I have to keep the volume very low for safety though and it does not provide any great boost. Look at landmarks ahead and try to run to them before taking a walk break. Stop twice for blackberries. Bridge way off in the distance that I can focus on. So happy to see the turn around and start heading back. Set a very easy goal of beating 5 hours. John is way ahead now. Linda starts catching up. When I reach the detour/road area I know that I am getting close and I put on what speed I have so that she will not catch me. Going well here and the legs feel fine. Feet are the worst part. Slow pace meant that my stomach was good and I was able to tolerate gels and Gatorade on the course. Reach the finish in decent shape. 26.3 on the GPS. Enjoy the recovery area and post race food. Wait for a few runners to come in and then head home.
90 minutes from home, this race is a good option if I need to get a long run in, or am trying to build up marathon numbers. I hope that it stays small.
11th place of 25
Race #278, Marathon or ultra #88